June 21, 2022
1 Kings 14
At that time, Jeroboam’s son Abijah became sick. 2 Jeroboam said to his wife, “Please go with a disguise so no one will recognize you as Jeroboam’s wife. Go to Shiloh where the prophet Ahijah is. He told me I would be king of this people. 3 Take ten loaves of bread, cakes, and a bottle of honey with you. Go to him. He will tell you what will happen to the boy.” 4 Jeroboam’s wife did precisely this. She left and went to Shiloh and came to Ahijah’s house. Now Ahijah had become blind in his old age.
5 The Lord said to Ahijah, “Look! Jeroboam’s wife has come seeking a word from you about her son. He is sick. Say this and that to her. When she comes, she will be disguised.”
6 When Ahijah heard the sound of her feet coming through the doorway, he said, “Come in, Jeroboam’s wife! Why have you disguised yourself? I have hard news for you. 7 Tell Jeroboam: This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: When I lifted you up from among the people, I appointed you as a leader over my people Israel. 8 I tore the kingdom from David’s house and gave it to you. But you haven’t been like my servant David, who kept my commands and followed me with all his heart by doing only what is right in my eyes. 9 Instead, you have done more evil than any who were before you. You have made other gods and metal images to anger me. You have turned your back on me. 10 Therefore, I’m going to bring disaster on Jeroboam’s house! Because of Jeroboam, I will eliminate everyone who urinates on a wall, whether slave or free. Then I will set fire to the house of Jeroboam, as one burns dung until it is gone. 11 Dogs will eat any of Jeroboam’s family who die in town. Birds will eat those who die in the field. The Lord has spoken!
12 “As for you, get up and go back home. When your feet enter the town, the boy will die. 13 All Israel will mourn for him and will bury him. Out of the whole line of Jeroboam, he alone will have a tomb, because only in him did Israel’s God, the Lord, find something good. 14 For this reason the Lord will raise up a king over Israel who will eliminate the house of Jeroboam. This begins today. What’s that? Even now! 15 The Lord will strike Israel so that it shakes like a reed in water. He will uproot Israel from this fertile land that he gave to their ancestors and their offspring, and he will scatter them across the Euphrates River, because they made the Lord angry by making their sacred poles. 16 Because of the sins Jeroboam committed, and because he made Israel sin too, God will give Israel up.”
17 Then Jeroboam’s wife left and went to Tirzah. When she stepped across the threshold of the house, the boy died. 18 All Israel buried him and mourned him in agreement with the Lord’s word spoken through his servant the prophet Ahijah. 19 The rest of Jeroboam’s deeds—how he fought and how he ruled—are written in the official records of Israel’s kings. 20 Jeroboam ruled twenty-two years and he lay down with his ancestors. His son Nadab succeeded him as king.
Rehoboam rules Judah
21 Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, ruled over Judah. Rehoboam was 41 years old when he became king. He ruled for seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city the Lord chose from among all the tribes of Israel to set his name. Rehoboam’s mother’s name was Naamah from Ammon. 22 Judah did evil in the Lord’s eyes. The sins they committed made the Lord angrier than anything their ancestors had done. 23 They also built shrines, standing stones, and sacred poles on top of every high hill and under every green tree. 24 Moreover, the consecrated workers in the land did detestable things, just like those nations that the Lord had removed among the Israelites.
25 During King Rehoboam’s fifth year, King Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. 26 He seized the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He took everything, even all the gold shields that Solomon had made. 27 King Rehoboam replaced them with bronze shields and assigned them to the officers of the guard who protected the entrance to the royal palace. 28 Whenever the king entered the Lord’s temple, the guards would carry the shields and then return them to the guardroom. 29 The rest of Rehoboam’s deeds and all that he accomplished, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? 30 There was continual warfare between Rehoboam and Jeroboam. 31 When Rehoboam died, he was buried with his ancestors in David’s City. His mother’s name was Naamah from Ammon. His son Abijam succeeded him as king.
1 Kings 15
Abijam rules Judah
Abijam became king of Judah in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam, Nebat’s son. 2 He ruled for three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah, and she was Abishalom’s daughter. 3 Abijam followed all the sinful ways of his father before him. He didn’t follow the Lord his God with all his heart like his ancestor David. 4 Even so, on account of David, the Lord his God gave Abijam a lamp in Jerusalem by supporting his son who succeeded him and by preserving Jerusalem. 5 This was because David did the right thing in the Lord’s eyes. David didn’t deviate from anything the Lord commanded him throughout his life—except in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. 6 There was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam as long as Abijam lived. 7 The rest of Abijam’s deeds and all that he did, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? There was war between Abijam and Jeroboam. 8 Abijam lay down with his ancestors; he was buried in David’s City. His son Asa succeeded him as king.
Asa rules Judah
9 In the twentieth year of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Asa became king of Judah. 10 He ruled in Jerusalem for forty-one years. His grandmother’s name was Maacah; she was Abishalom’s daughter. 11 Asa did the right things in the Lord’s eyes, just like his father David. 12 He removed the consecrated workers from the land, and he did away with all the worthless idols that his predecessors had made. 13 He even removed his grandmother Maacah from the position of queen mother because she had made an image of Asherah. Asa cut down her image and burned it in the Kidron Valley. 14 Though the shrines weren’t eliminated, nevertheless Asa remained committed with all his heart to the Lord throughout his life. 15 He brought into the Lord’s temple the silver and gold equipment that he and his father had dedicated. 16 There was war between Asa and Israel’s King Baasha throughout their lifetimes. 17 Israel’s King Baasha attacked Judah and fortified Ramah to prevent Judah’s King Asa from moving into that area.
18 Asa took all the silver and gold that remained in the treasuries of the Lord’s temple and the royal palace, and he gave them to his officials. Then King Asa sent them with the following message to Aram’s King Ben-hadad, Tabrimmon’s son and Hezion’s grandson, who ruled from Damascus: 19 “Let’s make a covenant similar to the one between our fathers. Since I have already sent you a gift of silver and gold, break your covenant with Israel’s King Baasha so that he will leave me alone.” 20 Ben-hadad agreed with King Asa and sent his army commanders against the cities of Israel, attacking Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, along with all the land of Naphtali. 21 As soon as Baasha learned this, he stopped building Ramah and stayed in Tirzah. 22 King Asa issued an order to every Judean without exception: all the people carried away the stone and timber that Baasha was using to build Ramah, and King Asa used it to build Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. 23 The rest of Asa’s deeds, his strength, and all that he did, as well as the towns that he built, aren’t they written in the official records of Judah’s kings? When he was old, Asa developed a severe foot disease. 24 He died and was buried with his ancestors in David’s City. His son Jehoshaphat succeeded him as king.
Nadab rules Israel
25 Jeroboam’s son Nadab became king of Israel in the second year of Judah’s King Asa. He ruled over Israel for two years. 26 He did evil in the Lord’s eyes by walking in the way of his father Jeroboam and the sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 27 Baasha, Ahijah’s son from the house of Issachar, plotted against him and attacked him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines. Nadab and all Israel were laying siege against Gibbethon. 28 Baasha killed Nadab in the third year of Judah’s King Asa and ruled in Nadab’s place.
29 When he became king, Baasha attacked the entire house of Jeroboam. He didn’t allow any living person to survive in Jeroboam’s family; he wiped them out according to the Lord’s word spoken by the Lord’s servant Ahijah of Shiloh. 30 This happened because of Jeroboam’s sins that he committed and that he caused Israel to commit, and because he angered the Lord, Israel’s God. 31 The rest of Nadab’s deeds and all that he did, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings? 32 There was war between Asa and Israel’s King Baasha throughout their lifetimes.
Baasha rules Israel
33 In the third year of Judah’s King Asa, Baasha, Ahijah’s son, became king over all Israel. He ruled in Tirzah for twenty-four years. 34 He did evil in the Lord’s eyes by walking in Jeroboam’s ways and the sin he had caused Israel to commit.
1 Kings 16
The Lord’s word came to Jehu, Hanani’s son, against Baasha: 2 I raised you up from the dust and made you a leader over my people Israel, but you walked in Jeroboam’s ways, making my people Israel sin, making me angry with their sins. 3 So look, I am about to set fire to Baasha and his household, and I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son. 4 Dogs will eat any of Baasha’s family who die in town. Birds will eat any who die in the country.
5 Now the rest of Baasha’s deeds, what he did, and his powerful acts, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings? 6 Baasha lay down with his ancestors and was buried in Tirzah. His son Elah succeeded him as king.
7 But the Lord’s word came through the prophet Jehu, Hanani’s son, concerning Baasha and his house. It concerned everything evil in the Lord’s eyes that Baasha had done, angering the Lord by his actions so that he would end up just like the house of Jeroboam. The message was also about how the Lord attacked Baasha.
Elah rules Israel
8 In the twenty-sixth year of Judah’s King Asa, Elah, Baasha’s son, became king over Israel. He ruled in Tirzah for two years. 9 Zimri, his officer who led half the chariots, plotted against him. Elah was at Tirzah, getting drunk at the house of Arza, who had charge over the palace at Tirzah. 10 Zimri came, attacked, and killed Elah in the twenty-seventh year of Judah’s King Asa. Zimri succeeded him as king.
11 Once Zimri became king and sat on the throne, he attacked all of Baasha’s house. He didn’t spare anyone who urinates on a wall, whether relative or friend. 12 Zimri destroyed the entire house of Baasha in agreement with the Lord’s word that had been spoken by the prophet Jehu to Baasha. 13 This happened because of all Baasha’s sins, as well as the sins of his son Elah and because they caused Israel to sin. They angered Israel’s God, the Lord, with their insignificant idols. 14 The rest of Elah’s deeds and all that he did, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings?
Zimri rules Israel
15 In the twenty-seventh year of Judah’s King Asa, Zimri became king. He ruled in Tirzah for seven days. The army was camped at Gibbethon in Philistia. 16 They heard the news: “Zimri has plotted against the king and killed him.” Right then, in the camp, the whole Israelite army made their general Omri king of Israel. 17 Omri and the entire army then went up from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was captured, he went into the fort of the royal palace and burned it down on top of himself. So he died. 19 This happened because of the sins Zimri had committed by doing evil in the Lord’s eyes and by walking in Jeroboam’s ways and the sin he had done by causing Israel to sin. 20 The rest of Zimri’s deeds and the plot he carried out, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings?
Omri rules Israel
21 At this time the people of Israel were split in two. One half of the people followed Tibni, Ginath’s son, making him king; the other half followed Omri. 22 Omri’s side was stronger than those who followed Tibni, Ginath’s son. So Tibni died and Omri became king. 23 In the thirty-first year of Judah’s King Asa, Omri became king of Israel. He ruled for twelve years, six of which were in Tirzah. 24 He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two kikkars of silver. He fortified the hill and named the town that he built there after Shemer, the previous owner of the hill of Samaria. 25 Omri did evil in the Lord’s eyes, more evil than anyone who preceded him. 26 He walked in all the ways and sins of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son, because he caused Israel to sin. They angered Israel’s God, the Lord, with their worthless idols. 27 The rest of Omri’s deeds and his powerful acts, aren’t they written in the official records of Israel’s kings? 28 Omri lay down with his ancestors and was buried in Samaria. His son Ahab succeeded him as king.
Ahab rules Israel
29 In the thirty-eighth year of Judah’s King Asa, Ahab, Omri’s son, became king of Israel. He ruled over Israel in Samaria for twenty-two years 30 and did evil in the Lord’s eyes, more than anyone who preceded him. 31 Ahab found it easy to walk in the sins of Jeroboam, Nebat’s son. He married Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, who was the king of the Sidonians. He served and worshipped Baal. 32 He made an altar for Baal in the Baal temple he had constructed in Samaria. 33 Ahab also made a sacred pole and did more to anger the Lord, the God of Israel, than any of Israel’s kings who preceded him. 34 During Ahab’s time, Hiel from Bethel rebuilt Jericho. He set up its foundations at the cost of his oldest son Abiram. He hung its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub. This fulfilled the Lord’s word spoken through Joshua, Nun’s son.
1 Kings 17
Elijah and the ravens
Elijah from Tishbe, who was one of the settlers in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As surely as the Lord lives, Israel’s God, the one I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain these years unless I say so.”
2 Then the Lord’s word came to Elijah: 3 Go from here and turn east. Hide by the Cherith Brook that faces the Jordan River. 4 You can drink from the brook. I have also ordered the ravens to provide for you there. 5 Elijah went and did just what the Lord said. He stayed by the Cherith Brook that faced the Jordan River. 6 The ravens brought bread and meat in the mornings and evenings. He drank from the Cherith Brook. 7 After a while the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land.
Elijah and the widow from Zarephath
8 The Lord’s word came to Elijah: 9 Get up and go to Zarephath near Sidon and stay there. I have ordered a widow there to take care of you. 10 Elijah left and went to Zarephath. As he came to the town gate, he saw a widow collecting sticks. He called out to her, “Please get a little water for me in this cup so I can drink.” 11 She went to get some water. He then said to her, “Please get me a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any food; only a handful of flour in a jar and a bit of oil in a bottle. Look at me. I’m collecting two sticks so that I can make some food for myself and my son. We’ll eat the last of the food and then die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go and do what you said. Only make a little loaf of bread for me first. Then bring it to me. You can make something for yourself and your son after that. 14 This is what Israel’s God, the Lord, says: The jar of flour won’t decrease and the bottle of oil won’t run out until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.” 15 The widow went and did what Elijah said. So the widow, Elijah, and the widow’s household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour didn’t decrease nor did the bottle of oil run out, just as the Lord spoke through Elijah.
17 After these things, the son of the widow, who was the matriarch of the household, became ill. His sickness got steadily worse until he wasn’t breathing anymore. 18 She said to Elijah, “What’s gone wrong between us, man of God? Have you come to me to call attention to my sin and kill my son?”
19 Elijah replied, “Give your son to me.” He took her son from her and carried him to the upper room where he was staying. Elijah laid him on his bed. 20 Elijah cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, why is it that you have brought such evil upon the widow that I am staying with by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself over the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, please give this boy’s life back to him.” 22 The Lord listened to Elijah’s voice and gave the boy his life back. And he lived. 23 Elijah brought the boy down from the upper room of the house and gave him to his mother. Elijah said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 “Now I know that you really are a man of God,” the woman said to Elijah, “and that the Lord’s word is truly in your mouth.”
1 Kings 18
Elijah versus Baal’s prophets
After many days, the Lord’s word came to Elijah (it was the third year of the drought): Go! Appear before Ahab. I will then send rain on the earth. 2 So Elijah went to appear before Ahab.
Now the famine had become especially bad in Samaria. 3 Ahab had called Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace affairs. (Obadiah greatly feared the Lord. 4 When Jezebel killed the Lord’s prophets, Obadiah took one hundred of them and hid them, fifty each in two caves. He supplied them with food and water.) 5 Ahab said to Obadiah, “Go throughout the land and check every spring of water and every brook. Perhaps we can find some grass to keep our horses and mules alive so we don’t have to kill any of them.” 6 To search, they divided the land between themselves. Ahab went one way by himself, while Obadiah went a different way by himself.
7 While Obadiah was out searching, suddenly Elijah met up with him. When Obadiah saw him, he fell on his face. “My master!” he said. “Are you Elijah?”
8 Elijah replied, “I am. Go and say to your master, ‘Elijah is here!’”
9 Then Obadiah said, “How have I sinned that you are handing me, your servant, over to Ahab so he can kill me? 10 As surely as the Lord your God lives, there’s no nation or kingdom where my master Ahab hasn’t looked for you. They would insist, ‘He’s not here,’ but Ahab would make them swear that they couldn’t find you. 11 And now you are commanding me: ‘Go and say to your master, “Elijah is here”’? 12 But here’s what will happen: As soon as I leave you, the Lord’s spirit will carry you off somewhere—I don’t know where—then I’ll report to Ahab, but he won’t be able to find you. Then he will kill me! But your servant has feared the Lord from my youth. 13 Wasn’t my master told what I did when Jezebel killed the Lord’s prophets? I hid one hundred of the Lord’s prophets, fifty each in two caves. I also supplied them with food and water. 14 But even after all that, you tell me, ‘Say to your master, “Elijah is here”’! Ahab will kill me!”
15 Elijah said, “As surely as the Lord of heavenly forces lives, the one I serve, I will appear before Ahab today.”
16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab. He told him what had happened. Then Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When Ahab saw Elijah, Ahab said to him, “Is that you, the one who troubles Israel?”
18 Elijah answered, “I haven’t troubled Israel; you and your father’s house have! You did as much when you deserted the Lord’s commands and followed the Baals. 19 Now send a message and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel. Gather the four hundred fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah who eat at Jezebel’s table.”
20 Ahab sent the message to all the Israelites. He gathered the prophets at Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hobble back and forth between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow God. If Baal is God, follow Baal.” The people gave no answer.
22 Elijah said to the people, “I am the last of the Lord’s prophets, but Baal’s prophets number four hundred fifty. 23 Give us two bulls. Let Baal’s prophets choose one. Let them cut it apart and set it on the wood, but don’t add fire. I’ll prepare the other bull, put it on the wood, but won’t add fire. 24 Then all of you will call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers with fire—that’s the real God!”
All the people answered, “That’s an excellent idea.”
25 So Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of these bulls. Prepare it first since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but don’t add fire.”
26 So they took one of the bulls that had been brought to them. They prepared it and called on Baal’s name from morning to midday. They said, “Great Baal, answer us!” But there was no sound or answer. They performed a hopping dance around the altar that had been set up.
27 Around noon, Elijah started making fun of them: “Shout louder! Certainly he’s a god! Perhaps he is lost in thought or wandering or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he is asleep and must wake up!”
28 So the prophets of Baal cried with a louder voice and cut themselves with swords and knives as was their custom. Their blood flowed all over them. 29 As noon passed they went crazy with their ritual until it was time for the evening offering. Still there was no sound or answer, no response whatsoever.
30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here!” All the people closed in, and he repaired the Lord’s altar that had been damaged. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob—to whom the Lord’s word came: “Your name will be Israel.” 32 He built the stones into an altar in the Lord’s name, and he dug a trench around the altar big enough to hold two seahs of dry grain. 33 He put the wood in order, butchered the bull, and placed the bull on the wood. “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the sacrifice and on the wood,” he commanded. 34 “Do it a second time!” he said. So they did it a second time. “Do it a third time!” And so they did it a third time. 35 The water flowed around the altar, and even the trench filled with water. 36 At the time of the evening offering, the prophet Elijah drew near and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant. I have done all these things at your instructions. 37 Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that you, Lord, are the real God and that you can change their hearts.” 38 Then the Lord’s fire fell; it consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust. It even licked up the water in the trench!
39 All the people saw this and fell on their faces. “The Lord is the real God! The Lord is the real God!” they exclaimed.
40 Elijah said to them, “Seize Baal’s prophets! Don’t let any escape!” The people seized the prophets, and Elijah brought them to the Kishon Brook and killed them there. 41 Elijah then said to Ahab, “Get up! Celebrate with food and drink because I hear the sound of a rainstorm coming.” 42 So Ahab got up to celebrate with food and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. He bowed down to the ground and put his face between his knees. 43 He said to his assistant, “Please get up and look toward the sea.”
So the assistant did so. He said, “I don’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah said, “Do it again.”
44 The seventh time the assistant said, “I see a small cloud the size of a human hand coming up from the sea.”
Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Pull yourself together, go down the mountain, and don’t let the rain hold you back.’” 45 After a little while, the sky became dark with clouds, and a wind came up with a huge rainstorm. Ahab was already riding on his way to Jezreel, 46 but the Lord’s power strengthened Elijah. He gathered up his clothes and ran in front of Ahab until he came to Jezreel.
If you would like to practice in conversations and discussions surrounding today’s reading, please visit Facebook.com/HolstonConferenceUMC